If you enjoy Streetsblog and believe in the work we do to inform people about how New York can become a better city — with world-class streets, less traffic, safer biking and walking, and great transit options — please give generously to our first year-end pledge drive. Your donation will help ensure that Streetsblog NYC continues to influence policy makers and elevate the public debate about transportation and planning in our trend-setting global metropolis.
Before I go any further, a big thank you goes out to all the readers who gave to Streetsblog NYC when we first asked for contributions earlier this year. Thanks to you we’re on the path toward making Streetsblog a financially self-sustaining voice for change that will be here for years to come. I hope you’ll continue your support for Streetsblog and contribute again.
If you haven’t given before, we need your support to finish the job. We’re counting on you and all of Streetsblog NYC’s regular readers to fund the original news and commentary that our hard-working team produces every day. Your mission, readers, should you choose to accept it, is to help us raise $50,000 by the end of 2010.
Streetsblog is a non-profit news source, and all donations are tax-deductible. This is the first time we’ve done a fundraiser with specific goals on Streetsblog NYC, so I’ve put together a short explanation.
For our first four years, Streetsblog NYC was funded entirely by the generous support of a single donor, publisher Mark Gorton. With Mark’s financial backing, founding editor Aaron Naparstek made the site into a widely read source for livable streets news and commentary.
Streetsblog was the only place where you could count on reading probing stories about how New York City was falling far behind other world cities on transportation policy.
Some of the questions that came up rather frequently back then: Why doesn’t our city have any physically-separated bike lanes when places like Copenhagen and Montreal have been using those designs to boost cycling for years? Why is Times Square still overrun by cars when London has banned traffic from part of Trafalgar Square? Why is New York City taking ages to make progress on its rapid bus plans when Bogota built out an entire BRT network in a few short years?
Look around the city today, and a lot of those questions have been put to rest. There’s no shortage of innovation coming out of NYC DOT, and Streetsblog NYC has moved on to some different questions for policy makers and elected officials. This is the only place you’ll find daily, in-depth reporting about issues like NYPD’s refusal to release information about crash investigations, NYCEDC’s horrendous parking policies, or Albany’s addiction to raiding funds set aside for transit. And when an innovative street design like the Prospect Park West bike lane comes under attack, we’re here to defend it.
The issues and stories that Streetsblog covers trickle up through the mainstream press. They get read inside City Hall. You can be sure that a post about EDC chief Seth Pinsky’s belief in adding ample parking to the fabric of New York City will be noticed by none other than EDC chief Seth Pinsky. (You may also, perhaps, enjoy reading it yourself.) With a small staff and a lean budget, Streetsblog generates what officials have told us is “a disproportionate influence” over public policy.
We need your help to keep on pressing the case for transportation reform because, as a result of a court case pursued by the recording industry against Mark Gorton’s file-sharing company, LimeWire, he is no longer in a position to financially sustain our work. The upshot for Streetsblog NYC is simple: We need to develop a more diverse revenue stream, including direct support from our readers.
There is nothing optional about this process. Streetsblog NYC must make the transition to reader-supported funding, or else our publishing days are numbered. Without Streetsblog, New York would lose its most timely and widely read online voice for livable streets at a moment when progressive street design and transportation policies are still considered novel and controversial.
Our sister Streetsblogs in other cities have already been through this transition and emerged on the other side. Not long ago, Streetsblog San Francisco and Streetsblog LA were also funded mainly by single benefactors. Now they’re funded by a mix of reader contributions, major donations, foundations, sponsorships, and ads. Streetsblog NYC has to make the same transition, and I know that with your help, we’ll do it.
Please give generously today, and get Streetsblog NYC to our goal of raising $50,000 by the end of the year.
This month, about 4,000 people visited Streetsblog on a typical weekday. If 10 percent of the people who visit Streetsblog on a single weekday give the equivalent of $10 a month, we’ll meet our goal for this drive.
If you are interested in making a major gift or matching donation during this pledge drive, please email me at ben [at] streetsblog [dot] org to learn more.
Thank you for reading Streetsblog, for making this site what it is today, and for supporting our work.
Editor, Streetsblog New York City